Divorce can be difficult. When you and your ex share children together, there's usually no chance of cutting all ties and going your separate ways. If your ex is still in your childrens' lives, you need to find a way of carrying on some kind of cooperative relationship together.
Today we provide three tips for developing an effective co-parenting relationship with your ex:
Tip #1: Get on the same page with your ex
Children benefit from consistency-consistent schedules, consistent house rules and consistent expectations.
After a divorce, it can be tempting to paint yourself as the "fun" parent. After all, you only have a limited amount of time with your kids each week, and you want them to come away with happy memories of your time together. However, letting your kids stay up later than usual or eat foods they're normally not allowed to eat will make your child's adjustment to living in two households more difficult.
It's also helpful if you and your ex can back each other up regarding discipline. If your child skipped school, and your ex responded by grounding him for a week, this punishment should continue on the days he's staying with you.
Tip #2: Ease the transition
If your child splits time between your house and your ex's, moving back and forth can be emotionally taxing for both parents and children. If your time with your child is coming to an end, don't display your sadness to your children. Instead, try to stay upbeat. Remind your children a day or two in advance that they'll be going to the other parent's house, in order to avoid an upsetting surprise.
In addition, it's a good idea to take your children to the other parent's house, rather than having the other parent pick them up. If a parent arrives to pick up their children and interrupts a fun activity, for example, then that parent can be associated with taking their children away from something positive.
Tip #3: Deal with negativity the right way
In any divorce, you're bound to have hurt feelings and anger towards your ex. Nevertheless, for the sake of your kids, it's up to you to put on a brave face when they're around. Never complain about your ex in front of your kids.
However, it's still important to find a healthy outlet to relieve your negative feelings. Confiding in family members or friends, or participating in high-energy sporting activities can be healthy ways of improving your emotional wellbeing.
Navigating a co-parenting relationship with your ex is often challenging. However, by focusing your attention the right way-on the wellbeing of your children and yourself-you can help make the process easier.